While alcohol and cigarette manufacturers’ advertisements were once plastered on the large majority of racing cars and circuits worldwide, times, and regulations, have changed. Read more
When we think of “classic” cars, cars of the late 1990s surely don’t come to mind. Our minds go straight to carburetors, roll-up windows, and non-synchromesh manual transmissions. However, in the eyes of the law, a car only needs to be 25 years old to be considered a “classic”. How’s this for mind-boggling: next year the Mazda Miata turns 30 years old. 30! You kiddin’ me? Today we’re going to look at two modern, at least in our eyes, roadsters that just recently crested the 20-year-old mark, the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3. In just a few years we’ll be seeing Boxsters and Z3s with classic plates; I can’t be the only one rattled by this realization.
Seriously? The Boxster is already 20 years old? Little did the public know that when the water-cooled Boxster was introduced in late 1996, it prefaced the impending demise of the beloved air-cooled Porsches. The Boxster was soon followed by the 996, the first 911 to be water-cooled rather than air-cooled, which caused a stir among the Porsche faithful. Interestingly enough, the mid-engined, 2-seater Boxster was Porsche’s first road car originally designed as a roadster since the legendary 550 Spyder. You may have noticed that Porsche just recently changed the Boxster and Cayman names to the “718”, a homage to the 718RSK racers of the late 1950s, the 718RSK being a racing variant derived of the 550 Spyder.
In the early 1990s, Porsche wasn’t quite the economic powerhouse we know today. As a matter of fact, they were on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1993, Porsche sold just 3,000 cars in the United States, total. In an effort to turn things around, Porsche looked to introduce a new, more affordable model. They looked to Japanese automaker Mazda, who was having tremendous success at the time with their Miata, an entry-level 2-seater roadster. Mazda had proven that there was a strong market for small, sporty roadsters, and Porsche recognized an opportunity. The Boxster would, in some senses, become the German Miata. It was similar to the Miata in that it was small, convertible, and relatively inexpensive, but it featured a mid-mounted flat-six producing nearly twice as much power as the Miata, had near-perfect weight distribution, and above all, wore a Porsche badge. The Boxster was a massive success, and quite likely saved the company from financial ruin. By 2003, when the first generation of Boxster was phased out, Porsche had sold more than 120,000 of them. Ironically, the Boxster, the car originally intended bring Porsche ownership to the masses, is now one of Porsche’s lowest volume sellers.
While it may seem a bit odd, as BMW has been such a prevalent automaker and household name for decades, the Z3 was actually BMW’s first mass-produced, mass-market roadster. It was also the first new BMW model to be manufactured in the United States, having been assembled at BMW’s South Carolina plant. The roadster was introduced in late 1995 and was an instant hit; by the time the car came to market for the 1996 model year, over 15,000 orders had already been placed. Just under 300,000 units were produced over the course of the car’s seven year production run, a huge success. While the Z3 Roadster sold very well, the Roadster is likely not the model that the Z3 platform will be remembered by. The Z3 M Coupe, with it’s hate-it-or-love-it “clown shoe” shape, was the ultimate development of the platform. The M Coupe was essentially a Z3 powered by an M3 powertrain; the combination of the M3’s massive power (320hp in the Z3M’s later iteration) and the Z3’s sub-3000lb weight pushed the Z3M to supercar-like levels of performance. In recent years, the Z3M Coupe has seen a phenomenal appreciation in value, and, as the market currently sits, there’s no sign of values ever dipping back down.
Today, twenty years after the Z3 Roadster’s inception, they’re still a common sighting. And because of the high production numbers, there are bargains to be had; higher-mileage examples can be had for as little as $3k. With the Roadster now at the very bottom of its depreciation curve, if you can find a nice, original, low-mileage example, you can only win. While it probably wont be the next Ferrari Dino or Porsche Speedster in terms of rapid appreciation in value, there’s no better time to buy than now.
Written by: Jake DePierro
Many of the classic and collectible cars we all lust over today and routinely see go for exorbitant amounts of money at auction weren’t always looked at in this light; in fact, many of the cars that are now gaining traction in the classic and collectible market were once looked at as oddities, the features that once deterred buyers now adding massive value in the resale market. For example, take a look at the 1963 Corvette. The ‘63 model year was the only year to feature a “split” rear window, something that at the time was not all that well received. Some people even went so far as to cut the divider out of the rear hatch and retrofit a singular glass panel. Fifty years later, split window coupes are fetching nearly twice as much as their single-window counterparts. Oops!
With all the variation in the collector car market, how can I ensure I’m making a smart buy? Are there any tell-tale signs that a car is soon to increase in value? Read more
The 924 occupies an interesting space in Porsche history; as their first front-engined, water-cooled model, its introduction spelled a change of direction for Porsche, which caused a stir among the Porsche faithful. Read more
This past weekend we finally saw a break in Chiberia’s bitter, grey winter. The sun came out for the first time in weeks and the temperature ticked above freezing….alright! We took this opportunity to stretch the legs of two cars that have been taunting us from the showroom, our ‘88 M3 and ‘84 Euro 635csi. Read more
Though it’s now been thirty years since the tragic end of Group-B, the buzz that the series created within the motorsport community has yet to fade away. The fire-breathing, turbocharged monsters of Group-B are renowned as some of the most ferocious, difficult-to-tame racing cars in all of motorsport history. The drivers of these cars were not only celebrated for their phenomenal skill, but for their superhuman-like focus and fearlessness. It has been said that subconscious self-preservation instincts are what really separated the great drivers from the good ones, as drivers were truly living on the brink of death while behind the wheel at race speed. Read more
As classic car enthusiasts, we’re always on the hunt for interesting projects. We love all of the oddball water-cooled Porsches of the 1980s, so when we got word of an ‘81 928S sitting on blocks in a backyard garage in the Chicago suburbs we got properly excited, albeit a bit skeptical as we knew that 1983 was the first year the 928S had been sold in the United States. We got in touch with the owner, and requested the VIN. Low and behold, the car was truly an ‘81 928S Euro-market car. We immediately got our flatbed ready to go. When we arrived at the owner’s property, here’s what we saw: Read more
There are a couple different types of collector car owners; there are those who are fastidious, never allowing their cars to be seen in public at anything shy of concours-level presentability, and then there are the drivers, owners who choose to forego often significant resale value in favor of using the car as the manufacturer intended, by getting behind the wheel and properly enjoying it. Certain types of cars will attract certain types of owners; generally, the more valuable the car, the more likely it is that the owner will be of the fastidious sort. When values of a particular model soar into the seven-figure range, we typically see the aforementioned “drivers” selling their cars, then to be purchased by those who will retire the car to their climate-controlled garage where they house the rest of their collection. Read more
When in the market for a classic or collectible vehicle there are a number of areas that, if properly studied and understood, will instill great confidence in you as a buyer and ensure a wise investment. While the excitement of purchasing a car you’ve always lusted over is often overwhelming, you must not let that excitement cloud your judgment. It is important to remember that proper due-diligence will be the difference between an expensive headache and the euphoria of making a good buy. It’s all too easy to convince yourself that a particular car is the right car for you. My professional experience as a vintage car buyer has taught me that when in the market, you’re better off pursuing a specific level of quality or condition, rather than trying to make a certain car meet your desires. You must understand that sellers of classic and collectible vehicles tend to believe their car is nicer than it actually is; this is not because they are trying squeeze every last dollar out of you, it is because of the sentimental value many classic vehicles carry. The ability to see through the sentimental value of a car and ensure a good purchase relies heavily on your preparedness as a buyer. In this overview we will thoroughly examine the critical points of evaluating a classic or collectible vehicle prior to purchase, in an effort to ensure your next classic is well-bought. Read more